miR-122 targets an anti-apoptotic gene, Bcl-w, in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines.

Research paper by Cliff Ji-Fan CJ Lin, Hong-Yi HY Gong, Hung-Chia HC Tseng, Wei-Lun WL Wang, Jen-Leih JL Wu

Indexed on: 12 Aug '08Published on: 12 Aug '08Published in: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications


miR-122, a hepato-specific microRNA (miRNA), is frequently down-regulated in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In an effort to identify novel miR-122 targets, we performed an in silico analysis and detected a putative binding site in the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of Bcl-w, an anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member. In the HCC-derived cell lines, Hep3B and HepG2, we confirmed that miR-122 modulates Bcl-w expression by directly targeting binding site within the 3'-UTR. The cellular mRNA and protein levels of Bcl-w were repressed by elevated levels of miR-122, which subsequently led to reduction of cell viability and activation of caspase-3. Thus, Bcl-w is a direct target of miR-122 that functions as an endogenous apoptosis regulator in these HCC-derived cell lines.